As the 11 year old girl gazed at the coconut tree in her backyard on her island home of Antigua, she dreams of one day becoming a lawyer in America. Once the dream took root in her head, she went around telling everyone who would listen.
Mosby's courageous decision to prosecute makes her just one of the many black women over the decades who have worked hard to quell the scourge of police brutality. Black women have played a substantial role in bringing national and international attention to the issue, both in the past and today.
After "not guilty" was read as the verdict for Officer Michael Brelo for his part in the shooting death of Black couple Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams took to Twitter to speak on the verdict.
If the voices and concerns of ordinary Americans aren't at the center of this debate, we can expect the ticking time bomb of urban unrest to explode in more and more communities. Without major reforms, the recent upheavals in Ferguson and Baltimore may simply be a precursor to a wave of 21st century riots.
Despite my effort, many historians continue to see only white soldiers' suffering and death during the war. But what about those who did not wear the Union blue or Confederate grey but died in the same war often alongside of white soldiers? How we might remember their death and suffering?
For hundreds of years, women of color have not only paid their dues, but partially paid ours. It's not enough to just defend them when times get rough, but to empower them even when our own victories are close.
Not too long ago, Mr. Brown, you were in a similar place as Ms. Ayeb when the media aimed to make you feel ashamed and small, so I'm sure you can understand when I say to you that your remarks on TMZ were damaging, ignorant and unnecessarily part of this unhealthy cycle of mocking the mentally ill.
Philadelphia has a long history as an incubator for social justice activism, from the abolition of slavery to the Black Power movement. Moreover, with its high unemployment and poverty, low wages, and high incarceration rate, the city could become another Baltimore.
I believe Ambassador Haley's place in American history should be more prominent. For a man who made American history six times, Ambassador Haley never spoke of his accomplishments or the past preferring to concentrate on the future.
If one looks only at individuals with a bachelor's degree, the black unemployment rate still approaches twice that of the white unemployment rate. One reason? Because individual effort on the part of black workers cannot change the minds of the remaining discriminatory employers.
When former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick stood before the Morehouse College Class of 2015 to deliver his commencement address, he joined a host of notable black men, who, in recent years have ascended to the heights of American public service and have too charged black men and boys to be exceptional.
While we may speak similarly as another from the same culture, a racially monolithic way of talking is simply not possible. We deserve to give each other room for cultural background and experience, and should not force each other to conform into our conceptions of their group.
They are all under 30 years old and, despite their age, have attained world-class status in their fields, as well as riches, fame and respect.
Count down the Top 9 Young Lions who are making black history today and for many years to come.
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Given that it's Black History Month, let's talk about the relationship between black philanthropy and black activism. Do you see a connection in history?
Oh definitely. I was reading a book recently about African American philanthropy and this connection to black activism. The roosts of black philanthropy were actually sparked as a reaction to slavery. Our forefathers pooled their resources to help slaves gain freedom, and also to support them once they became free. There were so many mutual aid societies, churches and schools that were established with those funds. When you look at black history, it is a lot of black philanthropy. People always talk about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but a lot of people don't know that she pooled her resources with others' to establish homes and provide education after slaves became free. So it wasn't just about getting people free. She also provided those services to help people get where they needed to be.
Is Black History Month still a useful and purposeful way to celebrate our achievements?
I don't think it's bad. I think it's important and is needed. But I would like to see more of a spotlight on our living legends, people who are making history that are still living. We always seem to focus on the past. But there are so many people who are still living. We could tap into their wisdom, they could talk to youth. Like Ruth Simmons, the first black president of Brown University, and the surviving Tuskegee Airmen. We just need to broaden our scope and bring to light these hidden gems.
What is your favorite black philanthropy and who would you say is the biggest black philanthropist of all time?
I'm going to be biased because I have my own charity! My favorite black organization is mine. I founded a giving circle in 2005, which is a group of individuals who pool their monies for a given cause. It's called The Black Benefactors. We just gave out our first grants recently totaling $10,000, so I'm really, really excited, because it's been almost five long years in the making. I'm also happy to say that all the organizations that we funded are African American-led. And even though we are called The Black Benefactors, people think you have to be black to join – not true! We have members of different races.
[In terms of my favorite black philanthropist of all time], I'm not going to say a celebrity. Oseola McCarty was a woman who saved up her money for years and when she passed away she left $150,000 [to the University of Southern Mississippi] for students to further their education. She is probably the most inspirational, because she showed that you do not have to be rich in order to give back to your community. She saved up her money for years, and she did not tell anyone. She worked washing clothes. Her gift shocked everybody. That's how passionate she was about helping students.
Then there are also lesser known, but prominent, African Americans like Eddie and Sylvia Brown. Eddie Brown has donated $5 million to the Baltimore public school system [to help African American students]. At the Maryland Institute College of Art this African American couple has a building in their name – The Eddie and Sylvia Brown Center. They donated $7 million to this organization.
You profile many celebrities on Black Gives Back. Do you have a favorite story of working with a celebrity or their organization?
Now, Kanye catches a lot of flack. But I will say that when I met the staff of his foundation, they are awesome people who know their stuff. When I talked to Kanye's mother briefly before she passed, I asked her "how did you select the people to run your organization." And she said, even before Kanye became famous, he wanted to give back. He was always concerned about when they were going to give back.
The singer Mya has a foundation that is a camp for kids in DC. I went to one of their year-end celebrations. You can really tell that Mya loves what she does with the kids and is very passionate about her foundation.
What do you see as the connection between black philanthropy and our future as a community?
Black philanthropy is essential for our future. It is being predicted that by 2050 communities of color with constitute over half of the population. We definitely need to ensure now that we will have resources available for us. It's still unfortunately the case that many organizations that primarily serve African American communities are headed by whites who are not connected to communities of color. Very few of the major foundations have people of color on their boards. One that does is Target. Laysha Ward is the head of their philanthropic efforts. So we do have some that are in those very important positions. We just need to support the people and organizations in place now, and make sure that we are in control of the funds that will serve our community.
What is the connection between giving and greatness?
There is definitely a connection between giving and greatness. It's even in the Bible. Everybody has something to give. Even if you don't have money, you can use your talents. Whatever you're good at, you can use that to benefit an organization. Just using whatever you have to help others who are less fortunate than you makes you a great person. When you give, it just makes you feel better. And when you give, you will get it back.
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